Hell's Kitchen South:
Developing Strategies

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Viren Brahmbhatt, architect and urban designer
Michael Conard, architect and urban designer
Richard Plunz, architect and urban designer
David Smiley, architect and urban designer

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In June 1999, the Design Trust partnered with the Hell's Kitchen Neighborhood Association (HKNA), a grass-roots community group, and four principals of Design + Urbanism (D+U) to organize a community-planning conference at the Jacob K. Javits Convention Center. The conference addressed the future of Hell's Kitchen South, one of the last under-developed areas in Manhattan. The conference enabled a dialogue between residents, who had been working with HKNA to develop a planning vision for their neighborhood, and design and development experts who helped inform and focus that vision.

The conference served as an interactive introduction for a subsequent in-depth design study, again undertaken in partnership with HKNA. The principals of D+U were awarded Design Trust fellowships to lead the project. Fellows Viren Brahmbhatt, Michael Conard, Richard Plunz, and David Smiley led this collaboration among urban designers, developers, and Hell's Kitchen neighborhood residents to assimilate research and create design recommendations that would steer beneficial growth and impending development in Hell's Kitchen South.

Towards this end, the project fellows organized a public symposium at which an invited panel of experts in infrastructure, development and planning discussed development strategies and problems of implementation. D+U also invited and led 18 multidisciplinary research and design teams to develop program issues raised at the conference and create a variety of urban design ideas. Their design and planning schemes were exhibited at the Storefront for Art and Architecture and at the Port Authority and were compiled into a document that outlines development strategies for the neighborhood.

The research and recommendations document, Hell's Kitchen South: Developing Strategies, is both a guide and a tool for local constituents, including the Hell's Kitchen Neighborhood Association and Manhattan Community Board 4, as they steer future development in their neighborhood for the good of Hell's Kitchen and the larger city.

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